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Prof. Jessica Sommerville Ph.D.

Self Description

October 2011: "Dr. Sommerville is an Associate Professor in the UW Department of Psychology. She received her BSc from the University of Toronto, and her PhD from the University of Chicago. Dr. Sommerville's research interests center around early cognitive development, in particular, how infants and preschoolers represent their own and other's actions. Her current research projects include work on the development of problem-solving abilities in infancy and infants' ability to understand the goal-directed nature of simple action sequences. She is also investigating preschool children's memory for their own actions and the actions of others in the context of joint activity."

Third-Party Descriptions

December 2012: "The Ontogeny of Fairness To pursue this line of the investigation, we went to the Early Childhood Cognition Lab at the University of Washington. Jessica Sommerville, principal investigator at the lab, and Marco Schmidt, currently at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, had collaborated on a research project that looked at the emergence of prosocial behavioral traits in infants at the age of 15 months."

October 2011: '"Our findings show that these norms of fairness and altruism are more rapidly acquired than we thought," study leader Jessica Sommerville, a University of Washington associate professor of psychology, said in a university news release. "These results also show a connection between fairness and altruism in infants, such that babies who were more sensitive to the fair distribution of food were also more likely to share their preferred toy."'


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Chicago Organization Oct 16, 2011
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Toronto Organization Oct 16, 2011
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) University of Washington (Seattle) Organization Oct 16, 2011

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Dec 26, 2012 Are We Born With a Sense of Fairness? Does fairness come standard with every newborn, or is it something that we (hopefully) develop as we mature?

QUOTE: Given the role of variability in the evolution of fairness, we thought it would be instructive to investigate at what age variability in the sense of fairness develops in children.

Pacific Standard
Oct 09, 2011 Kids May Develop a Sense of Fairness Earlier Than Thought: Toddlers who are quick to share toys act surprised when food isn't divided equally, study finds

QUOTE: Researchers from the University of Washington found that 15-month-old babies could tell the difference between equal and unequal portions of food. This perception, the study authors noted, affected the babies' willingness to share.